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January 17, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

A Houthi drone struck a US-owned and operated vessel in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, according to US Central Command, marking the second time this week the Iran-backed rebel group has succeeded in targeting a US vessel.

No one was injured aboard the vessel, CENTCOM said, which suffered “some” damage. The ship, which is flagged in the Marshall Islands, remains seaworthy and continued on its way, the statement said. 

Earlier Wednesday, a spokesman for the Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they had launched a series of direct missiles at the American ship.  

On Monday, a Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile struck another US-owned and operated vessel in the Gulf of Aden. It appeared to be the first time since the Houthis began attacking international shipping lanes in mid-November that they had succeeded in hitting a US-owned and operated commercial ship.

Earlier this week, the US Transportation Department issued an alert to US merchant ships, advising them to steer clear of the southern part of the Red Sea until further notice.

Officials advised that although the decision is ultimately up to companies and individual vessels, “it is recommended” US-flag and US-owned commercial vessels avoid the area “until further notice.”

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